DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction
When a new patient comes for consultation following a breast cancer diagnosis, she may be a candidate for using her own tissue to reconstruct the breast, also known as autologous breast reconstruction. The preferred donor site for this type of reconstruction is the abdomen and is known as a DIEP flap procedure. One of the most often asked questions is regarding the benefits of the DIEP flap procedure for their breast reconstruction. While the answer to this can be very complex and patient-specific, the primary benefits of using the skin and fat of the abdomen in your breast reconstruction remain similar from one patient to another.
So, what is a DIEP Flap Reconstruction?
To put it simply, this technique involves reconstructing the breast using the skin and tissue from the abdomen that is usually discarded during a tummy tuck procedure. Many patients say this is a 2 for 1 procedure where they are getting an abdominoplasty and breast reconstruction at one time. A successful DIEP Flap procedure requires advanced training and skill since it involves the harvesting and reconnection of tiny blood vessels and nerves. Dr. Gordon is extensively trained in microsurgery and uses the latest surgical advancements to optimize the reconstruction outcome.
Another benefit of the DIEP Flap procedure is the potential to restore sensation to the breast. During most mastectomies, the nerves that provide sensation to the breast skin are severed. With breast implant reconstruction, the woman’s chest is left physically looking normal, there is variable return of sensation to the skin. With a DIEP Flap procedure, Dr. Gordon uses a new technique to harvest a sensory nerve with the transferred tissue from the abdomen and reconnects it to a nerve in the chest. We continue to see great success and women regaining sensation to their reconstructed breasts overtime.
Another question that arises is what if a patient s had prior implant reconstruction and is unhappy with her results. Can she have a breast revision surgery using the DIEP flap technique? It may be very well possible and depends on factors like enough abdominal tissue and making sure the blood supply is intact from any prior abdominal surgeries. Remember, each patient is unique. Assuming the patient is a candidate for a DIEP flap, after evaluation, Dr. Gordon will make a recommendation on whether a revision with a DIEP flap is an option.
Choosing a DIEP Flap for your breast reconstruction offers you the most natural looking and feeling reconstructed breasts. The scarring at abdomen is like a tummy tuck and usually low enough that it is easily covered by a swimsuit. If you would like to learn more, call Dr. Gordon at Gordon Plastic Surgery in The Woodlands, TX to schedule your consultation 936-270-3680.